Correct a Horse That Spooks

Something Is Going to Scare Your Horse

Clinton Anderson from Downunder Horsemanship has a tried and true method for training horses. It’s training the owners that poses a real problem. Join him as he tackles some of the most challenging situations with problem horses and with problem owners. This week, we’ll get a chance to learn how to correct a horse that spooks.

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When you’re out on the trail, it’s inevitable that at some point or another, something’s going to happen that scares your horse. Whether another animal jumps out in front of you, a kid rides past on a motorbike, or inclement weather causes chaos, if your horse doesn’t know how to properly respond, it can be dangerous. When your horse gets spooked, both you and your horse are in danger. To combat this, whenever your horse gets scared or reactive, the first thing you need to do is try to do a One Rein Stop. To do this, pull one rein up to your hip and hold it there until your horse stops moving his feet.

Clinton informs us that if a horse hasn’t been taught how to do a One Rein Stop in a non-emergency situation, when you pick up on the rein during a spook, the horse may not listen to the cue and will keep moving around in a circle. That’s why it’s important to practice One Rein Stops in a controlled environment, such as an arena, so that you’re prepared to use them effectively and can get a scary situation under control.

After the horse comes to a stop, to calm him down and get him back to thinking straight, spend about two or three minutes just bending him around and softening him up. This can help ease the nerves and bring him back to focus. Depending on your horse, it could take two minutes or ten minutes to get him back to normal and thinking clearly—be patient. It’s important that you stay safe on the trail and riding a spooked horse will only put you in danger.

Remember, the more changes of direction you do the better. When a horse is using the reactive side of his brain, he’s filled with energy and acting impulsively. Your job is to take that energy and do something constructive with it. Once he’s back to using the thinking side of his brain, then you can continue on your ride along the trail.

During the remainder of your ride, keep an eye out for anything that might spook your horse. While many times these things are easy to see, sometimes you might not even understand what caused it. Regardless of if you can or can’t see a wild animal, you don’t have the same perspective as your horse and it’s not going to change how your horse reacts. If you notice any signs of your horse being spooked, even though you can’t find the source, just get off and put his feet back to work again. It doesn’t matter if you know what he’s upset about or not, you still need to get him under control. Try to disengage the hindquarters, make him bend around in a circle, or spin him. Give him a reason to listen and make sure that he’s back to using the thinking side of his brain before you continue on your ride.

Clinton Anderson has developed a method to help train any horses, regardless of their problem. Up until now it was nearly impossible to access the method when you’re on the go or at the barn. That’s why we’ve created three new ways to get the content you need at the price you want. Our Downunder Horsemanship app gives you access to your digital training kits and allows you to download videos and training content directly to your mobile device or view them on your computer. The Downunder Horsemanship app also offers over 100 hours of free, in-depth training content. You can also access all of the training material through three different levels by joining our No Worries Club.

To learn more about the Clinton Anderson training method, become a member of the No Worries Club, or to get information on any of the products seen on our show, head over to our homepage and download the Downunder Horsemanship app today!


Master your horsemanship training through Clinton’s step-by-step method videos by joining the No Worries Club today. Becoming a club member ensures you get VIP pricing on all of Clinton’s must-have training tools and resources. Plus, you’ll enjoy all the phenomenal benefits that come with club membership!

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